British Lung Foundation
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Jumping in my sleep

Hi every nite just as im nodding off to sleep I get sharp pains in the left side of my ribs which wakes me up everytime and I panic thinking im having a heart attack and I was wondering if it is anything to do with my heart it only happens as im dropping off to sleep and sometimes it feels like ive stopped breathing and its scarey can you help please

5 Replies

I have sharp pain in ribs side back not all time tho but can be scary

If it was you heart would be same when you breath in breath out

Hyperinflation can cause rib pain even features also strains even coughing a lot can cause pain.

Think worrying will do you more harm than pain BUT i no doctor if you worried that much i would go back to doctors

As to jumping or twitching co2 retension can do that as well as other stuff

Ad try not to worry and try difrent posture when you sleeping


Thank you very much


As a person that has had a heart attack and has heart problems, most of the time if it is in the ribs it is not the heart. it can be 1001 things from a touching rib, trapped nerve etc.

Does this happen in a particular position you are in when in bed? On side, back etc.

However you should never underestimate pain it is there to let you know there is a problem somewhere?

I hope you get it sorted out.

Be Well

1 like

I sleep on my back most of the time could this be it thanks


The lungs work by negative pressure. Very dependent on the diaphragm and space available. when you lie on your back and relax you will be using less of the lungs to breath, when you sleep and relax it drops again. Try to use the lower part of the lungs to breath this will strengthen the diaphragm and help the lungs. If you lie on the right or left and it seems easier on one side that may open up more lung space than being flat. Also try to have more pillows and be in a semi sitting position if that stops what has been happening. I would think it goes back to the diaphragm being a little weak though lack of exercise to that organ.

Be Well


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